Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
About an hour from both Milwaukee and Chicago in bucolic southeastern Wisconsin, Elkhorn (population 10,000) is rural, quite place nestled in rolling hills of fertile farmland. Lakes, shimmering and clean, are around every corner.
The cost of living is 20% less than the national average, and the median home price is $275,000, reflecting a 21% increase from just a year ago. Elkhorn has maintained its population during the last decade, and 31% of residents are age 45 or better. The crime is below the national average, and politics lean to the right. Racial diversity is minimal. Twenty six percent of locals have at least a four year college degree.
Activities abound. The popular Elkhorn Antique Flea Market, with more than 500 vendors, is held four times each year. The Walworth County Fair is one of the country's oldest and best, drawing 100,000 people annually. Outdoor summer concerts are take place in the unique historic bandshell.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has programs for all ages, and four public golf courses are within a short drive. A farmers' market runs every Saturday throughout the summer, and Oktoberfest is celebrated in the fall.
Elkhorn is known as the "Christmas Card Town." The entire community is decorated during the holiday season and the Christmas Card Town Parade draws thousands of people. The nickname started in the the 1950s when the picturesque downtown park was featured in paintings commissioned by the Ford Motor Company. Later these paintings were turned into a series of popular Christmas cards. The rest is Elkhorn history.
The county around town has 37 lakes, with Lauderdale Lakes and Lake Geneva particularly popular for boating, swimming and fishing. During the winter, residents enjoy ice skating and ice fishing. Kettle Moraine State Forest, about 90 minutes to the north, offers more opportunities for fishing, camping and biking.
The historic Matheson Memorial Library has a reading area with an inviting fireplace. Library users borrow nearly 100,000 items each year – not bad for a town of 10,000 people.
Aurora Lakeland Medical Center (75 beds) is accredited by the Joint Commission and has a program dedicated to the needs of older adults. It has also earned recognition from the American Heart and Stroke Association for its stroke and cardiac care. Medicare patients are accepted.
Elkhorn does not have a senior center per se, but the Aging Division of the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services is in town and has a good selection of services, including nutrition and transportation programs, AARP meetings and social get-togethers.
There is no public transit system, but the county has contracted with VIP Services, a company that offers curb to curb rides to doctors' offices, shopping areas and senior dining centers to people age 60 or better.
Elkhorn sits in a humid continental climate. Summer temperatures are in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the single digits, teens and 20s. On average, the area receives 35 inches of rain and 45 inches of snow each year. The elevation is 1,000 feet above sea level, and the tornado risk is 120% higher than the national average.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Wisconsin Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Somewhat
Winters can be a challenge, but Elkhorn's lake recreation, safe neighbohoods, reasonably priced living and proximity to major urban areas make it a spot to consider for retirement.
Wisconsin, a Midwestern state, was first discovered by the French but then settled by German and Scandinavian immigrants in the 19th-century. It was admitted to the Union in 1848 and today is a large dairy producer, particulalry famous for its cheese.
The first ice cream sundae was created in Wisconsin in 1881, and the first circus in the U.S. occured in Delavan, Wisconsin.
More than 800,000 deer roam Wisconsin woods, and according to legend, Wisconsin has more ghosts per square mile than any other state.
Just about all the natural lakes in Wisconsin have resulted from glaciers, and the Fox River is one of the few rivers in the country that flows north.
Almost a third of all Americans live within 500 miles of Wisconsin.
Population - 10,310,371
Persons 65 years old and over - 13%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 85%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 29%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 9%
White persons, not Hispanic - 53%
Median household income - $49,620
Median home value - $148,100
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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